The intended impact of this project is to enable a rapid and convenient virtual computing environment for evaluating and optimizing cementitious materials. Substantial savings in time, materials (purchase and disposal), human resources, and money can be achieved by reducing the number of physical tests performed on concrete by private industry.
In January 2000, a NIST-led industry consortium was formed to develop a Virtual Cement and Concrete Testing Laboratory (VCCTL). VCCTL is led by the Materials and Construction Research Division within the Engineering Laboratory, along with the High-Performance Computing and Visualization Group in NIST's Information Technology Laboratory (ITL). The core of the virtual lab is a computer model for the simulating the hydration and microstructure development of cement-based materials that is based on 15 years of research at NIST. Much of this research is described in an electronic monograph available at http://concrete.nist.gov/monograph.
Now entering its 13th year, the VCCTL consortium continues to conduct computational research and experimental validation to improve the predictive ability of the software. This research leads to enhancements and additions to the base models and user interface, based on the specific interests of the consortium members.The purpose of VCCTL software is to provide a platform for a virtual testing laboratory that can be used by concrete scientists, engineers, and technologists to explore the properties of cement paste and concrete materials. With this software, the user can
- create virtual materials, using carefully characterized cement powders, supplementary cementitious materials, fillers, and aggregates
- simulate the curing of these materials under a wide range of conditions
- calculate and analyze the thermal, mechanical, and transport properties of the materials as a function of the curing conditions
For details about how to join the VCCTL consortium, please contact Jeff Bullard.